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Whether you are driving for work, personal errands, or travel, every Maryland driver will encounter less-than-ideal weather conditions at some point. No matter what the season, these factors tend to increase the potential for car accidents. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reports that the total number of collisions nationwide is approximately 5.89 million, and about 20% of these accidents are related to weather conditions. Carrying this percentage over to Maryland, more than 24,600 of the 115,555 collisions that occur statewide are the result of poor weather.
The numbers on accidents caused by weather are revealing, but it is even more important to understand why the conditions heighten the risk of crashes. You cannot always avoid going out because of bad weather, but this information may help you avoid a collision. Talk to an Owings Mills car accident attorney if you were hurt, and read on for details.
Effects of Weather on Auto Crashes
The consequences of environmental conditions will not surprise anyone who has driven in them, but a reminder is useful.
- Rain creates slick surfaces, often because oil and grease on the roadway mix with moisture. Tires have less traction, and treads are not as effective.
- There are similar effects with snow, ice, and sleet, though they are amplified. Stopping distance can double or triple, meaning a passenger vehicle needs twice or three times the space to stop.
- Maryland sees its fair share of fog and smog, which affects visibility.
- High winds can affect the ability to control a vehicle, a major problem for large trucks. Wind can cause the high-profile trailer to sway, leading the truck operator to lose control.
How Weather Affects Liability in Car Accidents
Not only do these conditions impact driving, but the weather could be a factor when you are filing a claim after an auto collision. All motorists in Maryland are expected to drive safely, and failing to account for weather conditions could constitute negligence. For instance:
- A driver might be obeying the speed limit, but it is still careless to travel too fast in difficult weather conditions.
- It is legal to go through an intersection when the light has just changed to yellow, but it may not be safe to do so. Unsafe driving will often amount to negligence.
- Though changing lanes may not present a danger in sunny, dry conditions, a driver could put others at risk when the safe move would be to remain.
Negligence in Vehicle Collision Claims
Most traffic accidents are the result of negligence, but the term has a special meaning in the practice of law. The concept refers to what you need to prove to recover compensation. You must show that the at-fault motorist failed to exercise reasonable care behind the wheel, thus causing the crash.
Contact a Maryland Car Accident Lawyer About Your Options
For more information about your rights after a weather-related auto collision, please contact the Law Office of William F. Mulroney. You can call (443) 352-8433 or check out our website to schedule a free phone consultation with a skilled Baltimore County car crash attorney.